“O-H!”… “O-H!” was how newly-enshrined Hall of Famer Cris Carter started his induction speech on Saturday night, paying tribute to his home state, as well as his college years at Ohio State.
Carter, who spent three years in the Scarlet and Gray, gave a very emotional 16-minute speech on Saturday, and was sure to thank (and induct) every single person he felt had touched his life in some way. But he was also quick to apologize to Buckeyes fans for the mistakes that led to being ineligible for his senior season. For those who don’t remember, Carter famously signed a secret contract with agent Norby Walters, and lost his eligibility for the following season when the contract was discovered. The Buckeyes went to finish 6-4-1 that season, which resulted in the firing of coach Earle Bruce.
Here’s what Carter had to say:
“Ohio State. First of all, to all the Buckeye fans, from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely apologize for signing with a sports agent and losing my eligibility my senior year. That’s the only regret I have in my athletic career, is that I couldn’t play for the Buckeyes as a senior. Buckeye fans, Cris Carter says I’m sorry. To all my Buckeye teammates, especially those who took care of me – Keith Byars, Pepper Johnson, Jim Lachey, Kirk Lowdermilk, William White, Greg Rogan, Dwight Smith – guys who looked after me. I’ve always had good teams that I’ve played on. All you Buckeyes, all my teammates, all you guys in attendance, I greatly appreciate it.”
Whether or not you accept Carter’s apology, it was certainly nice to see Carter do so on a national stage, and on a day that was supposed to be about celebrating his personal accomplishments. Carter is the seventh former Buckeye player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining Jim Parker (1973), Lou Groza (1974), Dante Lavelli (1975), Bill Willis (1977), Paul Warfield (1993) and Dick LeBeau (2010).
In his career with Ohio State, Carter caught 168 passes for 2725 yards and 27 touchdowns over three seasons. He was also named a Consensus All-American in 1986, his final season with the Buckeyes, where he caught 69 passes for 1127 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 16.3 yards per catch.